Pegasus World Cup 2018 analysis

Here’s how I see the Pegasus World Cup, currently the richest race in the sport
with a $16.3 million purse. Even a placing 6th through 12th earns connections
$650k! It’s a 9 furlong race on Gulfstream Park’s main track. This is an
invitational race, 4YO+. We’ll go horse-by-horse for this one:

SINGING BULLET is the lone horse with a good pace recovery line. Since his
autumn/spring layoff entering 2017 he posted a 98, winning a 75k allowance
race. He scored a 99 in a 62.5k allowance effort on 11/2, and 100 on 11/26. I
like the consistent runs of 89 to 100 since the layoff.  My odds 14-1. ML: 30-1.
Overlay. Winning pace: average to slightly slow. Finish: 3rd.

WEST COAST could prove to be a handful. He needs a fast 1st and 2nd call to
win, and should be among the fastest entering the far turn. Winner of the PA
Derby, Travers, Los Alamitos and Easy Goer consecutively, plus a 40k
allowance. In the money all 9 races lifetime with 6 wins. Lifetime best 112 at
the Travers set a sharp new top, balanced with a 108 and 110 since. Great work
tab out of Santa Anita. My odds: 5-1. ML: 8-1. Finish: 4th.

The mare STELLAR WIND has wins in the Hirsch (twice), the Beholder and the
Apple Blossom, plus the Zenyatta and the Torrey Pines. 16 races, 10 wins.
Needs a slightly slow pace throughout. Multiple 1st-layoff wins. Bounced from
105 to 98 last time out in the Breeders Cup Distaff. My odds: None. No chance
to win.

SHARP AZTECA has 8 wins in 16, and 3 of 5 here at GP. Wins include the Cigar
Mile, the Kelso, the Monmouth Cup, the GP Handicap and the City of Laurel.
Best GP run of the field, 113. Multiple 1st-layoff wins. Small new top last time
out of 114 in the Cigar. Waiting since that race, on 12/2, to stretch an extra
furlong. Good works since then at GPW. My odds: 10-1. ML: 6-1. FInish:  5th.
Needs an average to slightly slow pace.

COLLECTED won 8 of 13 races lifetime. Interesting pattern of 111 scores every
other race (both 2 and 4 races back). Not finding anything compelling that
makes him a contender. My odds: 9-1. ML: 8-1. Can’t totally throw out but
shouldn’t be in the top 3. Needs an average to slightly fast pace to win.

GUNNEVARA won the Tangelo and the Fountain Of Youth here, and the Delta
Downs Jackpot. Multiple 1st-layoff wins. Spiked up to 109 and 107 last 2
races. Another horse whom I feel is rather outclassed here. This deep closer
needs a pace collapse. Throw out this one.

7 FEAR THE COWBOY is also a deep closer who needs a fast pace to win, just as
he did last time, here on 12/16, winning the Harlan’s Holiday. 104 score in that
one, is matched with a 105 before that, his lifetime best. Also lacks enough
evidence to win or contend here. Toss him out of this one.

8 WAR STORY comes out of 3 straight 4th-place finishes, in the BC Classic, the
Woodward and the Whitney. Won the Brooklyn on 6/10. Last time out, 109
score is small new top. Also the fastest trouble/wide trip of non-winners last
time of this field. Probably slowest by first call but will either seize the lead at
2nd call or rely on a huge pace gain by leaders to win. My odds: 9-1. ML: 25
-1. Overlay. Finish:2nd

9 TOAST OF NEW YORK won an allowance race in UK 3 years after being nosed
out of the 2014 BC Classic. 9-4-3-0 lifetime. I estimate he didn’t quite run as
fast as the Classic nor prior runs, so I’ll assume he actually bounced and could
run back to triple-digits on Saturday. Lone sprinter of the field. My odds: 10-1
ML: 20-1. Overlay. Finish: 6th.

10 GUN RUNNER’s stellar record, 11 wins in 18 is helped by his AWD numbers, and best score for the distance, 114, acheived in his 10 length Woodward win on 9/2 at the Spa. He is easily the speed of the field. Needs a slightly fast pace to win. Odds: 7-1. ML: 4/5. Finish: Not in my top 6.

11 SEEKING THE SOUL won the Clark and an optional claimer in last 2, breaching triple-digits for the first time with 2 small new tops. A number of fast works at Fair Grounds in prep. Might be the lone early closer, depending on scratches.  My odds: 3-1. ML odds: 25-1 Definite overlay. Finish: 1st.

12 GIANT EXPECTATIONS has the Gary Stevens/Peter Eurton connection, no races yet at this meet. No real chance for this horse. 105 lifetime best 4 races back in the Pat O’Brien and other scores in the 90s. No chance here. chance is if the pace collapses.

My top 3: Seeking The Soul, War Story, Singing Bullet…followed by West Coast, Sharp Azteca, Toast Of New York.
Projected overlays: Singing Bullet, War Story, Toast Of New York, Seeking The Soul

I plan to wager win bets on 1,8,9,11, and exactas involving the top 2 public favorites over these (likely to be Gun Runner and Sharp Azteca). Possibly a $16 investment.

TVG Super 8 race picks, 1/20/18

Trying my luck once again with the free TVG Super 8 contest. 5 wins out of 8 earn you some money. 8 of 8 nets you a share (ha!) of $100k.
Here is how I see the 8 contest races for 1/20/18.  These picks are modified, factoring in a few scratches, so overlay thoughts are ultimately tentative until public money rolls in:
1: Santa Anita, race 1, 54k 3YO Cali maidens, going one mile on the turf. Top 3 are 1-6-4. Just Kathy, Mo See Cal and Wishful. Overlay: Princess Fran, the lone ML double-digit longshot. Just Kathy at 5-1 ML wouldn’t be a win play for me. That honor would go to Wishful, who adds blinkers for the first time and is waiting 4 weeks to move up from her debut of 5.5 furlongs. Princess Fan intrigues me even more. Only filly here to come out of a small new top that represents her lifetime best. 71 score last time out in same class and first time on turf. She was off rather slow, couldn’t rally in the 12 horse field. Still, the score is fastest of those with some trouble last time.

UPDATE: Following scratch to Princess Fran, top 3 are now 6-4-1.

2: Golden Gate, racae 1, 4k claimers, fillies/mares 4YO+, non-winner since 11/1/17 or non-winner of 4. 1 mile on the dirt. Top 3 are 5-4-3. Shining Eva (lone overlay), Loveintheshadows and Life No Parole.
Shining Eva is the lone sprinter in this field of 6. She’s also the lone horse moving up from a sprint. 1 fast work since 1/5. That race itself was a nice improvement at 1st call, first off layoff.

3: Aqueduct, race 8, 6.5 furlongs, 67k allowance, 4YO+, non-winners of 2. Top 3 are 1-6-4…The Crocheron Kid, Forest Blue (both overlays) and War Of Ideas.
The Crocheron Kid raced with more money on him last time out, rising to small top of 89, ahead of a pair of 87s, all at similar class. 1st call numbers suggest great early speed to assist in his stalking nature. Certainly with having the most consistent recent numbers, he cannot be ruled out, even at 30-1. Forest Blue owns best speed figures for distance and has prior wins 1st off layoff. Fast 86 trip last out despite running 3 wide. Prior win while switching from turf to dirt

4: Santa Anita, race 2, 54k 3YO Cali maidens going 6.5 furlongs. Top 3 are 2-3-4…Soltero (overlay), Lombo, and Masked.
Soltero was 6th in his debut, running 5.5 furlongs with 67 BRIS at LRC 11/30, adds blinkers. This AP Indy grandson is waiting longest to stretch; 5 workouts since, all very fast, with 1 a bullet.

5: Aqueduct race 9 is for 4YO+, non-winners of 2, 6.5 furlongs, 16.5k claimers. I like 11-1-8..Primo Pientimento (overlay), Lightning Buzz, and Mutaraamy (overlay).
Primo Pentimento runs for the first time as a gelding, and cuts back from a route, only horse to do so here. Off since 10/28, he’s put in 4 works, last 2 very fast.

6: Gulfstream race 11 is the Sunshine Millions Sprint Stakes, 100k, FL-breds, 4YO+, 6 furlongs. Top 3 are the favored Mo Cash, XY Jet, and longshot Sweetontheladies.
Sweetontheladies is running possibly on a less than fast track today; her lone run on off conditions was her lifetime best 98, here last summer. Fast troubled trip last out in the Mr Prospector, a 79 despite a stumbling start. XY Jet won that race.

7: Santa Anita race 4, Cali-bred fillies and maidens, 4YO+, 54k level, 1 mile on the turf. Top 3 are 7-1-4…..overlay Night Bloom, Lady Mamba and Achira.
Night Bloom is the lone early closer of the field, getting a 5 lb allowance.

8: Santa Anita race 5, open 4YO+ maidens, 20k level, 8.5 furlongs. Top 3 are favored Seau and Is Trevor Clever, followed by Exceptiontotherule, lone overlay, who has great AWD numbers via Irish-breds.

Enlightened Trails update: Delta Downs 1/12, 1/13/18

Most horseplayers will look to Gulfstream Park for top-graded Thoroughbred action this weekend. I turn to my Enlightned Trails instead, focusing on 2 races at Delta Downs.
Tonight is the first of the 3YO races on either Trail. The Take Charge Brandi Stakes is for 3YO fillies, 60k purse, 7 furlongs on dirt.
Top 3 here are pretty chalky in Testing One Two, Upset Brewing, and Laudation. This 6-horse race is down from 8, following morning scratches to She’s The Fastest and Yes To The Dress. Upset Brewing is a decided favorite per the morning-line.
Potential odds: Testing One Two 3-1; Upset Brewing 1-1; Laudation and La Mistake 8-1; Cowgirl Callie 37-1. No overlays in this race. Laudation becomes the lone closer of the field. Testing One Two will need a collapsed pace to win this race and I believe she will. 84 BRIS 2 races back in winning her 2nd maiden race here in October…best for track and distance in this field. Also a prior winner 1st off layoff. Paired with an 88 last time out in the LA Jewel. 5 workouts since that race.
No real shot at value in this one. None of these fillies have prior EOT points.

Saturday’s event is for the 3YO colts on the EDT Trail. This is the 60k Big Drama Stakes, 7 furlongs. Top 3 are Boune in Nixa, Bobby’s wicked One, and Much Trouble, the only value horse here. No overlays so far.
Bourne in Nixa on the rail is the lone deep closer. Pair of wins at 6 furlongs, scoring 90 then 81. Waiting since 11/4 to stretch. Plenty of works since then, a few fast ones at that.
Much Trouble is worth a look. Still a maiden after 3 races, he forged a big gain from 65 to 81 on 11/18 and has been off since. The 81 one score earned him 2nd place but earned a win via DQ. The wide and troubled, yet fast, trip should be an indicator of a better race today (not to mention the switch to a 26% jockey and 44% trainer).

2018 Baseball Hall Of Fame ballot analysis

This year’s HOFM class (never, ever forget this is a
museum too, folks) appears pretty strong, with a few
first-timers looking to become first-ballot entrats, and
there are none facing elimination from next year’s ballot.
Jack Morris and Alan Trammell got in via the Modern
Baseball group, to lower the bar somewhat overall. I felt
that Morris was somewhat marginal, and Trammell
reaching at best to be in the conversation. Hall of Fame?
I suppose. More like the Hall of Pretty Consistently
Good. For A While.
As with my previous rankings, I took the top 10 in
various categories, all listed in Baseball-reference.com:
Black Ink, Grey Ink, HOF Monitor, HOF Standards, JAWS,
JAWSpos, WAR, WAR/7, most similar players to careers
totals within top 10, most similar cumulative by age
within top 10. From these I counted who were top 10 in
the most categories, and broke ties simply using side-
by-side comparisons. Every position was considered
equal to another.
Results of the initial spreadsheet plus the alternate

Chipper and Thome are easily in among those appearing
for the first time. Johan, among pitchers, proved to be
best of the first-time pitchers. With the Black Ink, Grey
Ink, and WAR stats, he’s in the conversation, but he
lacks in all other areas. Notably he has no similar stats
to other pitchers by others per career and age. Lefty
Grove might have been the best match, but now more
like very good but not oustanding pitchers such as Cole
Hamels or David Price.
Andruw Jones also is best of the rest among batters. He
ranks well within his WAR and JAWS stats, and matches
up well historically to Reggie, Frank Robinson and Duke
Snider, including best match Dale Murphy. I have always
liked him; maybe with a weaker class he’ll move up
more.

There was a tie for the last spot, between Vladimir,
Edgar Martinez and Sheffield. Here’s how they ranked
between them.
Black Ink: Edgar by a mile
Grey: Guerrero, comfortably
Monitor: Guerrero, easily
Standard: Guerrero, big
WAR: Here’s where there is a closer argument between
the three. Edgar with the narrow advantage.
WAR7: Edgar in another close shave.
JAWS: Edgar again, close.
JAWSPOS: Edgar, 11th at 3B, nicely over Vladimir and
Sheffield in RF.
Similar career in stats: Sheff ranks just ahead of Vladimir
here. Sheff compares to these HOF’ers: Ott, Reggie,
Griffey, Mickey, Billy Williams, Frank Robinson, Frank
Thomas.
Vladimir: Bagwell, Rice, Stargell, Billy Williams, Duke
Similarity, age: Guerrero, easily.
Edgar narrowly gets the edge over Vladimir for my
virtual vote over the others.
IN: Clemens, Bonds, Thome, Ramirez, Walker, Sosa,
Jones, Mussina, Schilling, Edgar.

As for my own, sabermetric version of the ballot, there
were 19 batters, 10 starters, and 4 relief pitchers. Kerry
Wood I count as both starter and reliever, as he switched
mid-careeer from his starter role.
I decided on creating a vote by taking the top 6 batters,
3 starters, and the one best reliever.
From the total amount of batters, Bonds, Chipper,
Ramirez, Sheffield, Thome are in…there is a tiebreaker
between Guerrero, Sosa and Andruw Jones. Let’s see how
they compare:
Games played: Sosa by about 200 over others
WPA/LI: Guerrero narrowly over Sosa
MVP Shares: Guerrero slightly over Sosa
Franchises played for: A bit of a tie. Sosa with the edge,
playing for just 4.
HR/PA: Sosa wins here, a few PAs ahead of the others
Postseason games: Andruw Jones leads here with 76,
dwarfing Vladimir’s 44.
Zen factor: Vladimir slight edge over the others at 416.
Sosa and Guerrero in a tie after these. Using them
head-to-head, here’s who matches up better:

Sosa leads in G, franchises, HR/PA. Guerrero leads in all
others. I will give him the edge here.
SP: Between the 9, I chose the top 3 for each variable and
collected the details. Clemens and Schilling are an easy
1-2. Then there’s a tie between Wood and Johan for the
last spot. Here’s how they match up:
Johan leads in these categories: WPA/LI, MVP, CYA,
franchises. Wood leads in G, K/BF, postseason G, Zen
Factor.
Gee, flatfooted tie. Do I put them both in? I could. Maybe
it’s just easier to leave them in and go with a 5-4-1
framework….5 batters, 4 starters, 1 RP.
If we do this, then here’s how my ballot would work:
Bonds, Chipper, Thome, Ramirez, Sheffield
Clemens, Schilling, Johan, Wood
Hoffman

Combining both lists, here’s my bona fides:
Clemens, Bonds, Thome, Ramirez, Schilling

On the doorstep….these are on either one of the other
list:
Sheffield, Chipper, Johan, Wood, Hoffman, Walker, Jones,
Mussina, Sosa, Edgar.
Everyone else is out, including McGriff,
Kent, Wagner, and all the other first-time ballot
candidates.